Canada: Housing starts edge down in May
June 8, 2020
Housing starts—excluding the province of Quebec due to the pandemic—decreased to approximately 137,135 units on a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) basis in May, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), down from April’s 166,477-unit reading also excluding Quebec. Housing starting including Quebec stood at 193,453 units, which is down from 195,221 units in March—which is the last available month with data including Quebec. May’s fall was driven by a decline in starts of both single-detached and multi-units in urban areas, particularly in the province of Ontario, which plummeted nearly 40% month-on-month.
Meanwhile, the six-month average of housing starts in urban areas excluding Quebec on a SAAR basis decreased from 155,600 units in April to 151,072 units in May. The national six-month average of housing starts on a SAAR basis also fell from 198,644 units in April to 196,750 units in May—not accounting for Quebec falling out of the survey in April.
Author: Steven Burke, Economist